Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank a Veteran

As a school, we probably have one of the absolutely best Veteran's Day Assemblies I've ever seen.   Different teachers over the years have taken upon the role of putting this together, because it's something that we all value and look forward to.  When someone gets burned out there is always someone to take his or her place.  Perhaps it's because so many of our teachers and staff are veterans, or so many of our kids are military dependents, or the fact that many of us were just raised respecting veterans.   But we do it up right.

And this years assembly was the absolute best I've seen in eight years at The School.


It.  Was.  Amazing.

We had the band play.  We had the color guard from the High School Down the Road.  We honored our teachers, staff and bus drivers who are veterans.  We had the appropriate dignitaries (including some of the mucky-mucks from Downtown).  However, the most popular dignitaries were the six soldiers from our local military post (all combat veterans by now, and one walking with a cane) who recited the Soldier's Creed in unison.  Many of my homeroom kids were able to shake hands with them afterwards and were really delighted to report back that they had done so.

But the kicker was the kids themselves.

Over the past month or so some of our English teachers in both 7th and 8th grade have been working on a patriotism unit.   Considering how many of our kids have family members who have served overseas, or are currently serving, and the fact that we have two who have lost a close family member to combat (father and uncle), this is a really emotional subject for our kids.  One of the things that the kids brought up was that many of their peers didn't stand and honor the flag the way they thought they should during our morning Pledge of Allegiance.

That has now changed.  Because our kids asked everyone who they stood for when they stood for the Flag.

As part of the ceremony, the thirty plus kids from the 8th grade advanced English class came down from the stands with American flags and one by one they came across the stage with their flag.  And each one stopped, and spoke into the microphone.

"I stand for my grandfather."

"I stand for my uncle."

"I stand for my brother."

"I stand for my sister."

"I stand for my mom."

"I stand for my step-dad."

"I stand for my dad."

And the last kid for each grouping would add, "If you have a grandfather/father/mom, etc. who served in the military please stand with me and remain standing."

It didn't take long before the entire gym was on their feet.

And then the local Marine Corps representative played Taps.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house.  And that includes the kids.  

The kids are still talking about what an awesome assembly it was.  And parents who came have emailed expressing how moved and astonished they were at the assembly.  And today, when we said the Pledge, I looked around my room and noticed that they were standing straighter, they were focused on the Flag, and they were a bit louder when it came to the pledge.

The Principal, however, topped it off with her email. "The policy makers probably don't realize that we can't test or make a standard about some of the things we teach our kids.  Today, we've taught them alot about respect, and honor, and patriotism.  And that's what makes them good citizens.  And no one can measure that on a bubble test.  Keep that in mind when you're feeling pressured about standards and testing and high stakes.  You all teach them so much more than what's on your curriculum.  You teach them how to be good people."

Thank you to all my veteran readers.  God Bless.


Unknown said...

Our school assembly won't be quite so impressive, but I am just as proud. My 4th-5th grade special education students have practiced like crazy and will be doing a short presentation in front of the school. They have gone above and beyond my expectations for them, and many have memorized their lines. Keep your fingers crossed that they don't get stage fright tomorrow!

Dan Edwards said...

BRAVO for your school, staff and students doing this great thing. My school, nay, my entire district, repeatedly fails to do anything like this. Its pathetic.

Sarah said...

Wow, that is wonderful. I wish they could come present it at our school!

HappyChyck said...

Wow! That is crazy amazing!

We had our first Veteran's Day assembly. The musical groups played, we had guest veterans who were teachers and parents of students. I thought it was nice.

BUT...we have so few assemblies that I don't think the students truly knew how to act during a serious one. Plus, I think maybe we need more patriotism at our school. Ahem...patriotism for this country.

Thank you for sharing your school's celebration. It's something to aspire to!

carly said...

It seems to be a strange kind of patriotism. Would this not cause isolation or maybe even ostracism of pacifist students or those who have their own reasons for disagreeing with the pledge of allegiance? And this doesn't take into account other forms of patriotism; how would you categorize those who refuse to express support for what they believe to be wrong action on the part of their government?
How could anyone imply that a student who does not accept a flag-waving variety of patriotism has not learned enough about how to be a good person?